Mothers call me when they have tried everything possible to get their child to sleep. They usually sound helpless and exhausted. I come in and look at things in a fresh perspective, reviewing all that has happened and creating a plan that is best for the child. When Kyla called me she was in this desperate state. Her son Zachary had been sleeping since the day he was born in a swing right by her bed. Now at 8 months old, he was weighing close to 21 pounds and they were in fear he was going to fall out. They tried to transition him to a crib a few different times and every time failed. Zachary would just stand in his crib crying until Kyla couldn’t took him out. She even tried having him fall asleep in her bed next to her but he would just play and not settle down. Kyla couldn’t handle it, so she just put him back in his swing and placed pillows under him in case he fell. She barely slept. All she could do was think about what was going to happen to him that night. Kyla couldn’t keep this routine going anymore and called me.
Transitioning to a crib after this long is hard! Zachary only new of one association to sleep, and that was upright in his swing. When you place a baby on a flat mattress in a completely new environment, there is going to be lots of crying. My main focus for Kyla was going to be encouraging her to get through that hard first night. To prep, I had Kyla place Zachary in his swing, in his room to sleep during his naps. This helped him get accustomed to his room. We had the sound machine on, dark blinds hung, and the temperature down to 70 degrees. I had her place the baby monitor on him so she wasn’t constantly going in and checking on him. Three days of this and he slept like a champ during his naps!
The evening came when I went over to transition Zachary to his bed. Kyla was a nervous wreck but motivated to make this happen. We immediately started his bedtime routine, keeping it the exact same. While they were handling the bath, I made sure Zachary’s room was comfortable and cozy. First, I placed a pillow under the sheet in his crib. I did this so Zachary still felt the tilt he was use to. I made sure there weren’t any corners he could roll into or any dips that would make him uncomfortable. I also suggest for younger babies to place books on one side of the crib to make the whole crib tilt a bit. Nothing high enough that they can slide down but just enough for a slight tilt. After a few weeks, you can slowly take out a few books or pull out the pillow so that its flat.
Once Zachary was all ready for bed, Kyla placed him in his crib, drowsy, and laid him on the pillow. I made sure placed some rolled up blankets on either side of him for that secure feeling he was use to. We stepped out and watched on the baby monitor. He moved his body a bit but didn’t cry. Five minutes later he was asleep. Kyla was in a bit of a shock. Even putting him in his swing, he would fight for a minute or two. The method I had given Zachary was from The Baby Whisperer and I told Kyla that if he did put up a fight at all during the night to use it. She had to use the technique three times that first night. She walked in, repositioned Zachary, gave him his pacifier, placed her hand on his belly for 20 seconds and walked out once he settled. Each time he cried for longer then 10 seconds, she walked in and did this same routine. The second night he cried for a total of three minutes before falling asleep. The rest of that evening, Zachary never woke up. Not once. He slept 12 hours straight!
Let me preface this by saying THIS DOESN’T NORMALLY HAPPEN SO EASILY. More often than not, a child will cry their little hearts out the first three or four nights. For Zachary, the extra room in his crib and by keeping the same tilting position helped make his transition go smoothly. He actually desired the space his crib offered now that he was getting to be such a big boy. When transitioning your child to their crib, start off with their naps. Getting them use to their new environment helps tremendously. Kyla and Zachary rocked it! So proud of the consistency and determination Kyla had. Sometimes a mother just needs the support to get through a really hard transition. So glad I was able to help this sweet family out. Sweet Dreams Zachary.